How often do you stop and take time to find out what is really going on in your friends’ or co-workers lives? When you ask and they reply with the standard “Ok” or “Fine”, are they really fine or just faking it?
When we saw our friends, neighbors and colleagues face to face or talked to them on the telephone every day, it was easy to know if they were really fine or just faking it. Subtle body language cues, sighs, pauses, facial expressions could give us clues to how they really were.
The rise of social media has definitely made it more difficult and so much more necessary to take the time to really find out what is going on with our friends, neighbors and co-workers. We are all guilty of assuming that the person posting the positive messages really feels that way. Or are they trying to talk themselves into it? In the midst of all their optimistic sounding posts, did you pay attention to the one short post that says they are hurting or need help or just need someone to care? How often do you notice when someone goes social media silent for a while and actually follow up to see if they are ok?
We all have busy lives and social media posts fly by us at the speed of the internet, but maybe we need to find a way to slow down and pay more attention. The shortest message or a kind smile can be the difference that someone might need to make it through whatever is going on in their lives.
This is a season, no matter your religion, of family, loved ones, friends, kindness, compassion and peace…maybe it is a good time to start paying more attention. On that list of New Year resolutions that you may or may not be making, maybe we need to include one that says pay a little more attention, reach out a little more and maybe we also need to quit faking it ourselves and be more open and honest, especially with the people who care about us. I know both of those will be on my list of changes for the New Year.